Miracles In The Maldives: Diving With Great White Sharks

(For Real!)

The rebirth happened thirty metres underwater, deep diving in the Maldives, carried in mother ocean’s massive womb. Seventeen minutes into our deep sea dive, magic appeared in the form of two great white sharks.

As luck would have it the rest of my dive team had a business meeting on board the mothership and were skipping out on this particular dive, which meant Iboo, the ocean whisperer, dive guide was alone with me.

The rest of the groups started off at a manta ray cleaning station, which involved hooking into a stationary point in the coral and waiting for the mantas. Hooking in dives were not my favorite. Trapped, restless, a dog on a chain, all my mind wanted to do was unhook and escape.

Completely dependent on doing what my guide was telling me, digging deep for some acceptance and gratitude, chilling out, until I was told it was time to unhook. It was a lesson in surrender.

Surfacing, Iboo could tell I was not happy. “Not your favorite dive, right Polly?” The lovely Iboo could sense my restlessness under water. Straight up, I replied, “Iboo I like to move, I need to be free!” He got it, and explained the ripping current was too fast in that spot and hooking up was our only option.

“Have you seen mantas before Polly?” Iboo asked me the following day. “Yes in fact I have,” I replied, he said, “ok then we don’t have to hook up to the manta station if you don’t want.” “Oh thank you Iboo! I can’t bear to be hooked up again. Lets just go!”  We jumped in and flew.

Iboo, my underwater angel, even made his arms into the shape of superman flying and we were. The current moved us along at a swift pace we were truly flying underwater.

My gratitude for Iboo was overflowing, and what amazing fortune to have him all to myself. He was very attentive, and I felt safe, cared for and well looked after.

A massive turtle the size of a human being, and some smaller sharks, gracefully swam in their underwater world as we descended. The vertical reef on our right and the deep blue sea out to the left, full of mystery and magic. Filling a plastic bottle full of stones, rubbing it with his metal pointer stick, Iboo created a sound that somehow attracts sharks.

Being a new scuba diver, and totally naive, I had full faith and trust in my amazing guide Iboo.

He signalled me to wait on the coral ledge and almost instantly a big form came swimming parallel to the reef. Holy sh*t! This was a real shark!

A massive six metre long form, with little fish attached to it, clung along for the ride.

Smaller, disinterested, white tipped reef sharks were around in our previous dives, this one, however, was different. It was massive and looked like JAWS. This is the big time!

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we were scuba diving the equivalent of class five in kayaking.

It’s as extreme as it gets. Hard core, faced with a gigantic shark that could destroy me in one mouthful.  Peaking, I had to have physical contact with Iboo, gripping onto his leg, we sat there motionless like underwater statues.

The shark left into the mystery of the deep, and Iboo signalled that we would keep moving.

“Woah, ok that was incredible! How does it get even better than this!?” Feeling overjoyed with this exciting encounter, the previous dives frustrations wiped away in an instant. Now this is real adventure.

“Whatever unfolds from here will be icing on the cake,” I thought. A few minutes later Iboo signalled me to stop again on the vertical reef ledge.

Two massive great white sharks came out of nowhere. They were the biggest things I have ever seen underwater and the real deal.

Spanning six metres in length, powerful, intense, and no nonsense, these beautiful animals humbled me, and gave me the most incredible moments I have ever lived. Gripping again onto Iboo’s leg, my heart nearly stopped as we sat together motionless on the reef ledge.

Turning up the volume, the encounter faced me with my insignificance. The sharks, if they  chose to, could eat me in one casual bite. Feeling fully maxed out with adrenalin, surrender of a different kind overwhelmed me. Next level aliveness, and excitement in that moment, culminated. “If this is it, if this is the end of my life, how cool!” I thought, fully at peace with whatever happened.

“It would be the most magical exit,” I thought, feeling ok with dying right then. However, it felt more like the sharks were there with a message rather than a meal on their mind. Absent of  aggression, they were there asking for my respect, and they had it. The minutes Iboo and I sat frozen in time, face to face with the great white sharks, turned the dial on my reality.

Nothing mattered. They erased my brain.

“See the truth Polly, get out of the small you, you are in the big league now, so act like it,” this sonar shark message, kicked me in my underwater ass. “We feel you, we know who you are, step up to the plate.  It is now or never, time is short, complete your mission, do what you came here for. It’s time to drop everything that doesn’t matter, all of it! Be the full expansion of who you really are, and stop faffing.”  Wow. Ok I get it.

Mission accomplished, message delivered, the powerful shark messengers gracefully swam away. A once in an incredible life time moment, the sharks changed me. Faced with death, stripped away of all that is insignificant, the preciousness precariousness of life was amplified to the extreme. Gradually ascending up from our deep depths, taking in the magnificence of the beautiful colored reef and amazing tropical fish, my underwater smile was ear to ear. Staring transfixed, a turtle swam up to the surface circled in a holo of light, another angel there to guide me.

Reaching the oxygen tank limit, and leaving our new underwater family, we popped up to the surface. Feeling a very special connection with Iboo, knowing he just shared the most magical moment of my life, we hugged, bonded by something that will never be repeated.

Still in semi shock, and not fully breathing, I climbed aboard the dive boat stunned at what had just occurred. Iboo said, “no one is going to believe us Polly, this just doesn’t happen.”

Iboo told me later that it was truly magical. Logging eight thousand dives in over twelve years as a divemaster in the Maldives, he had never once seen great white sharks or been so scared, ever.

Being a beginner, no expectations and nothing to compare it to, everyday for me is mind blowing. Dive number twenty-one will forever be etched in my being. Iboo said, “people will be jealous Polly. No one else in the group saw what we saw.” The other divers were a worldly group, who all had more experience than me, and took their diving seriously. This experience was something to be cherished, and felt important to keep it sacred.

We told the boys on the boat what happened and they all seemed sceptical and doubtful. None of them had ever seen great whites, and were trying to tell us it didn’t happen.We knew what we saw.

One of the other dive masters came up to me privately later and said, “you must have very good karma for this to happen. You are very blessed.”  The rest of the day I recounted what happened, replaying it over and over in my mind.

Everyday I have been asking for the next step in my expansion. This was the next step.

The sharks felt my respect and gave me some of their power. How does it get even better than this?

Iboo said, “it will be pretty hard to top that dive Polly.” However it got even better.

The businessmen who were all in my dive group left and as luck would have it I had Iboo all to myself again. Setting my intention: Please let me get what I came here for and give what you brought me here to give.

Erasing my mind, watching the early morning sun glistening on the water as the dive boat made it’s way to the next site. Fully trusting and surrendering that whatever was about to happen would be perfect.

Putting on my dive gear, jumping in the water after Iboo, my buoyancy control device inflator gadget wasn’t hooked up properly. “Oh jeez. I hope this isn’t bad,” I thought. Down at a depth of thirty metres, I showed Iboo my little problem.

Swiftly hooking it back together, he motioned me to stay where we were. Iboo always had something up his sleeve and I followed closely his direction. Learning how to be yin, open, trust, ask for help and receive it graciously, surrender, be taken care of, and allow support, is not in my natural nature.

Most of my life the fisherman has been the task master. Thanking the yang, masculine fisherman for all he has done, the rest of me has dived into the ocean.

The fisherman helped me win competitions, train, focus, and reach my targets. The deep sea diver is open, humble, receptive, takes it all in, waits, is patient, and follows directions.

Suddenly, a white tipped shark appeared out of the deep, followed by a bigger than human sized sting ray. Woah! The stingray, a massive angel, flew on the bottom of the ocean, taking my breath away and bringing tears to my eyes. “Ok,” I thought, “here is how it gets better!”

Another smaller stingray appeared at my level, and swam close to me. “What is your message?” I asked. The stingray angel replied, “Polly you are here to live.” Leaving me dazed, he swam away into the deep blue sea. Every ounce of my being wanted to follow the sting ray into the expansive beyond and never come back.

However, the stingray was there to tell me, it was time to live. Instantaneously, the ocean’s magic waters rebirthed me, held in her massive, loving, supportive womb, tears of overwhelming gratitude flooded my eyes, as I searched for Iboo.

Exactly what I had been asking for: To feel held, supported, loved, and cared for. My prayers were answered. Making our way up the colorful coral wall, overwhelmed by the majesty of the technicolor brightness, the surreal fish, and the whole experience, gratitude overflowed out of every pore of my body, I felt blessed beyond comprehension.